From the ground up > 2-4 Buckhurst Street, South Melbourne

Urban Melbourne touched upon this planning application briefly via this article some weeks ago, yet today we look closer at the imposing proposal that is 2-4 Buckhurst Street, South Melbourne.  Submitted for assessment during August, the dual tower scheme seeks to replace the current low-rise home of MAP Coffee within the Montague Precinct.  On behalf of Buckhurst Development Pty Ltd, the proposals overall design is a joint effort between Jackson Clement Burrows (JCB) and emerging architecture firm Inglis Architects, with Meinhardt Group contributing the lion's share of engineering, planning and landscaping reports.  

As the article title suggests we start from the ground up today, for the simple fact that the podium and public interface for 2-4 Buckhurst Street are worthy of praise and discussion.  Much has been said since Fishermans Bend was slated as an Urban Renewal Area, particularly around the assertion that Fishermans Bend would simply be another Docklands; barren, unfriendly and isolated in parts.  Regardless of the mountain of thought and effort dedicated toward structure plans for Fishermans Bend, the image seen below can alone allay a number of the aforementioned concerns.

As required 5% of the 3471 m² development site has been set aside as a public contribution, bolstering the already strong amount of open space surrounding the proposed development. Whilst the towers follow a certain design course, conversely the common podium carries a different feel and form which mirrors existing Jackson Clement Burrows projects such as The Cullen and Upper House, all defined by protruding pods.  In separating the design of tower and podium JCB seeks "Localised ambience that responds to the envisaged character of the Montague Precinct and surrounding neighbourhood," in essence encouraging amenity, comfort, safety and ease of access to and around the complex - an inviting building.

Land to 2-4 Buckhurst Street's west will be closed to development, fostering the creation of a public plaza/local park with features such as bio-retention rain gardens and seamless level paving (no kerbs) supported. Whilst some developments within Fishermans Bend are of a land size where extensive public domain works are impractical, potential developments such as 123-125 Montague Street, 15-87 Gladstone Street and 2-4 Buckhurst Street do heavily skew their applications toward ensuring public domain considerations are more than taken care of - something parts of Docklands have to date failed to deliver upon.

The podium itself sees a naturally cross ventilated above ground car park and services area wrapped by an active facade of apartments and townhouses, greenery and retail spaces.  245 vehicles, 9 motorbikes and 223 pushies are accommodated within the podium structure while three retail spaces of between 110-183 m² enhance public interaction.  Atop the podium sees a communal landscaped area including lounges, a function space, gym, pool and outdoor dining facilities.

Rather than utilising the maximum space above the podium the architects have delivered two towers of 39 and 27 levels, with the final size and shape taking into account wind testing results, overshadowing mitigation and the desire to maximise CBD views whilst amenity is enhanced via the northern towers level 19 outdoor terrace.  The facade carries a vertical over horizontal theme where glass and horizontal mesh balconies are contrasted by vertical elements spanning one to three floors; a detailed contrast to a number of curtain wall facade proposals within the immediate area.

Within the building 359 apartments are expected, consisting of 189 one bedroom options, 124 two bedroom options, 38 three bedroom options and 8 townhouses of both two and three bedrooms which span the podium.  It's refreshing to see 40 (including townhouses) three bedroom dwellings included within the proposal; a proportionally high number relative to other submissions in the area that just might cater for future families seeking apartment living. One bedroom apartments range between 45-50 m², two bedrooms span 60-84 m² while the three bedroom apartments carry 89 m² of internal space.

Through the application, environmental design strategies are present such as "Solar shading devices, double glazing, cross-flow ventilation and natural lighting to common corridors and extensive planting opportunities to outdoor spaces and terraces."  Indoor Environmental Quality is a high priority where ventilation, shading and building orientation can lessen or mitigate the need for cooling/heating devices.  As is generally the norm these days stormwater harvesting and solar hot water services are also included.

In terms of overall quality Urban Melbourne staff seem to think 2-4 Buckhurst Street is at or near the pointy end of all applications submitted to date within the Fishermans Bend Urban Renewal Area.  It's fitting the final words on this particular development are taken from the planning application, "The architecture and design of this building is exemplary, and it is our submission that it will not only make a valuable contribution to improving the immediate environs, but will set a high quality benchmark for all developments in this precinct."

Spot on!


All images © JCB / Meinhardt

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